Police Ride Along

Police Analysis Paper Intro to Police Work, Professor Phifer Thursday 8-12pm Ivana Simmons March 3, 2010 Certification of Authorship: I certify that I am the author of this paper and that any assistance I received in its preparation is fully acknowledged and disclosed in the paper.

I have also cited any sources from which I used data, ideas, words, either quoted directly or paraphrased. I also certify that this paper was prepared by me especially for this course. Student Signature __________________________ The idea of policing has become misinterpreted over the years.

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People think of policing as what they see in the entertainment world. Without realizing that, the entertainment world serves the purpose of entertaining and amusing. So, yes, they will make it seem exciting and fun.

They have you think of policing as the ultimate action job; fighting crime and arresting the bad guys. Even though such is portrayed, there is much more to policing then what is put out by the entertainment world. Today in media we see shows such as; COPS, America’s Most Wanted, CSI, Law & Order, and Criminal Minds. In these shows, and many others, the police officers are shown as the almighty crime fighters.They show officers chasing the bad guys, in car chases, in shoot outs, and also officers arresting potential suspects as part of their day to day routine. As entertaining as it may seem by far is this true.

Those are just myths about the works of an officer’s duty. Policing is surrounded by many myths and stereotypes. The most common of them all is that police are primarily crime fighters. This “crime fighter” title deals with the police, devoting most of their time and efforts to enforcing the criminal law meaning; patrolling to deter crime, investigating crimes, and arresting criminals.Only about one-third of an officer’s activities are devoted to criminal law enforcement (Walker & Katz, 2008). The average police officer rarely makes a felony arrest and almost never fires a weapon in his or her entire career (Walker & Katz, 2008). The majority of their work consists of peacekeeping, order maintenance, or problem solving. In reality, police play a major and complex role.

They have an ambiguous role which consists of a lot of discretion and many conflicts. The reason being for their ambiguous role is because they are entitled to a number of many different tasks.Their service is completely available to the community 24 hours a day and everyday of the week. Everyone calls the police for their problems, when they do not know where else to turn; the police are always their last result.

Being that it would be more complex and expensive to maintain a number of specialized agencies everything just kind of falls back on the police. Many of the phone calls that the police take do not require arrests and physical force. Some calls require someone of professional expertise, for example, in the case of mental ill incidents.Being that the police are generalists, they handle a wide range of situations, but with limited training and expertise. So in calling them they hear out one’s situation and direct them to who it is that can actually help them with their issues.

Twenty-one percent of police calls, the majority, are from citizens just wanting information; seventeen percent of their calls are for nonviolent crimes, and twelve percent are for traffic problem (). Another part of their vague role is the fact that they possess a tremendous amount of discretion.It is in the power of police officers to determine how to handle a situation and what actions to take in handling that particular situation. For starters, when they go out on calls and are called to a domestic dispute, first they would decide; is this even the time.

Then, they go on to figure out whether making an arrest would be suitable or whether they should just remove one of the parties from the household. Not only is a tremendous amount of discretion used in domestic disputes but also while they are on call.For example, if an officer is trying to gain control over a civilian and they chose to pull out a gun, the officer has to use his or her better judgment, their discretion, and make a decision whether to shot or not. Sometimes the officer’s have a split second to make a life or death decision, which all comes from their power of discretion. In trying to do their job, police officers face a great deal of conflict. Many of their responsibilities conflict with one another. They are responsible for maintaining order all while protecting the constitutional rights of citizens (Walker & Katz, 2008).

In cases such as a political conference, police officers have to maintain public order and protect the rights of the protesters and other civilians who are using the streets. It can be difficult to balance the two because there are very contrary. The authority to use force is a factor which shapes the police role as well. Officers can use physical force, deadly force, or take away someone’s freedom through arrests.

With their best judgment in discretion they have to effectively take precautions in how they use their force, and the type of force they use.So by the police trying to balance their right of discretion and dealing with their conflicting tasks, it complicates their role in society. Yes, the duties of a police officer are strenuous and require a dedicated individual but the process of actually becoming an officer is just as bad if not worse. The process requires a lot of patience and commitment in itself. Most people fall into the work of law enforcement because they want to help others; it is a secure field, to fight crime, foe the excitement of the job, and the prestige of the job. What many do not seem to realize is that a law enforcement agency is not a job, it is a career.One must truly be dedicated and determined to work in the field because it is all about your love for what you are doing.

The type of applicant in which a police department attracts all depends on who they need on their team to balance things out. For instance, if a department is lacking in female officers they are going to advertise and reach out to females so that more of them would gain interest in the force. The recruitment process in general consist of three different elements; the minimum qualifications, the recruitment effort, and the applicant’s decision to apply for a position. The minimum qualifications include various aspects.Minimum age level is one of the main qualifications.

Each department have their own set of rules and regulations but for the most part all departments have a standard age requirement which is no younger than 21 and no older than 35. Experts were not sure if 21 was a good age requirement because they could not tell whether one at such a young age could handle the task and whether if they were mature enough to do the job effectively and efficiently. It is not today in which many department put a age maximum but there are still a few, such as the New York Police Department, they do not allow anyone over the age of 35, for retirement reasons.When one thinks of an officer what comes to mind is donuts and coffee. That is just another stereotype; in actuality applicants for the position must meet a height and weight requirement.

Their weight must be proportional to their height. In today’s case many officers are overweight. So, some agencies today are such as the Ohio State Highway Patrol, are starting to implement a fitness program (Walker & Katz, 2008). Then there is education. Many departments require some educational background from their applicants. In 2000, the majority of police departments sixty-three percent, required at least a high school diploma.

Roughly thirty-eight percent required applicants to have attended some college, and about five percent required an actually four year degree (). It has been argued that by requiring officers to get a degree it raises their standards. Higher education shapes the values of students and make and make them better appreciate the role of policing, it will improve their performance by giving them a better sense of judgment, and lastly, they need to be able to deal with complex and constantly changing law of criminal procedure.So, it would be in their best interest to rise to the requirements to keep pace with the rising levels of education in society. It would only make sense that someone with a criminal record should not be eligible for police employment. A criminal record indicates a lack of ethical standards. Why one who cannot follow the law themselves should, be allowed to enforce it? Also, in having a criminal record it shows a lack of responsibility and depending on the type of charges can actually lead to corruption possibly in the future.

For instance, the Los Angeles Police Department, unlike many other departments, looks very detailed into one’s background. They want to know what kind of decisions you made in your past. They are interested in your credit report and driving records. The Los Angeles Police Department wants to know that type of decisions you have made in your past and your employment history as well (LAPD, n. d. ).

Another minimum qualification is residency. Residency is a big issue in policing. The controversy is whether officers should be allowed to live where they work.In living where they patrol they know the area well and can reach out and help the community. Yet, on the other hand, by living in the same area they patrol they do not really get away from the job, because many would call or ring their bell in looking for them to assist with their issues. The officer will eventually become burnt out and stressed. For departments like Los Angeles and New York, all that they require is for the officer to be a resident of the state.

But, for departments such as the Chicago Police Department, they mandate residency in the city in which the officer patrols (Chicago Police Department, n. d. ).Other important minimum qualifications are things like having a valid driver’s license. Many departments require passing agility tests, polygraphs, psychological profile tests, and drug tests.

The main thing which knocks out applicants is the drug test. A potential officer cannot use or do drugs of any kind for recreational purposes. Even if an officer has done drugs in his past, it is his duty to tell the absolute truth.

One little lie can and will harm the applicant’s chance in continuing the process. Although the applicant may not get caught at that moment, it will catch up to him or her down the road, and they will be terminated.The recruitment effort is simply the departments effort to drawing a certain applicant pool.

For instance, if a department wants to increase the representation of a certain racial group then they have to direct their recruitment efforts toward those groups. The department would go out to those communities and speak to those they are trying to gather interest in. Open recruitment efforts, including public advertising of opportunities, are required by the law today. There are many reasons for why people are interested to law enforcement.Surveys of recruits and new police officers consistently indicate that they choose law enforcement as a career for two main reasons: the nature of police work and the material benefits of the job.

For many applicants, a law enforcement career offers better pay, higher benefits, and greater job security than their parent’s occupation. Police officers enjoy a high degree of job security because of civil service rules. Job security is a big factor for individuals whose family experience includes periodic unemployment (Walker ;amp; Katz, 2008). Even after taking Introduction to Police Work I learned so much in what policing really consists of.I learned that the majority of what they show in the media is not true and that policing deals with way more than fighting crime and arresting the bad guys. I learned about the process of becoming an officer and everything they check and review.

As well as learning about policing in class I learned about it even more when I did my ride along. I did my police ride along with South DeKalb County. I rode with officer Edelkind. He is originally from Brooklyn, NY. He has been in Georgia for fifteen years now and policing for four years. Eventually he would like to go into detective work.At first, I was just asking him about different aspects of the field and do he like it. He said he enjoys it a great deal.

He just wishes that they did not have so many nonsense calls that they had to go to. When we first started the shift, we were just running the tags of random vehicles. After doing that officer Edelkind received a call about a guy refusing to leave McDonald’s on Wesley Chapel Hill. Once arriving, the manager said that they were able to handle the situation and that everything was straightened out. In leaving the parking lot of the McDonald’s we noticed that there was a few teenage loiters.So officer Edelkind pulled up beside them and asked why they were there. They claimed that they were waiting for the bus, yet they were nowhere near the bus stop.

So, he told them to go to the bus stop and wait for the bus and to stop hanging around. As they began to walk away one of the teen boys tried to call my attention. The officer asked what did he say and the boy replied, raising his voice, I wasn’t talking to you. So officer Edelkind got out the vehicle and approached him. He asked his name and age then patted him down. He was a sixteen year old boy carry cigarettes and a lighter.After running his name in the system the officer noticed that there was a search for the young man, he was reported as a runaway from a children home. So after taking him in to the DeKalb county juvenile center and processing the paper work, come to find out the warrant for his search was old and was already taken care of in the system.

The state just forgot to take it off the system. The boy was warned to stay out of trouble and was then released to his mother. Then the next call we went on was a neighbor seen children breaking an entry on a number of the vacant houses in the areas.

We went to the call; officer Edelkind went in and found nobody. After clearing the house, I went in with him and took pictures of the various graffiti tagging that were on the kitchen wall, counter top, and refrigerator. I went back to the car and him and his backup went to check two other vacant homes in the area and everything was all clear. There were no signs of anyone in the houses or no suspicious individuals outside the area. After that was another call about a vacant house, we went to check that out it was nothing serious. Then we went on to domestic dispute calls.On the first one, this handicap man was complaining how his sister and her husband came and kicked down the door of his house complaining that they want the rent.

The man claims that the rent is not due until March 3rd, so he does not understand why they are complaining about the rent. After hearing him talk the officer told him to lock the door and if they come back then you call the cops, yet, another wasted trip. In the second domestic dispute, the couple had been married for four years and this is their first time fighting like such. The husband called the police claiming that the wife pulled a knife to him.Then the wife called the police claiming that her husband had choked and strangled her. When we get there both of their stories are conflicting, one person is saying one thing and another is saying something completely different. Yet, being that the wife did not have any marks on her it was not believed that the husband tried to attack her.

On the other hand, the husband had a swollen cheek bone, which the wife had done in punching him with her ring. Since there was proof that she hit him that would make her the primary aggressor and by Georgia’s Law that is the one who goes to jail.Instead, officer Edelkind and his backup used their discretion and just advised that she and her son go stay with another relative until she cools down. The last dispute was also pointless.

A lady was arguing with her boyfriend about him always being high and harassing her children. After running their names, we found nothing on them. So, the female went to bed and the male had stayed out in the living room and slept on the couch.

The sergeant told the couple that if he has to come back to that household he is going to send them both to prison, so he hopes that they have everything straightened out and will be able to manage.After that call we finally found time to get something to eat. We pulled in to Subways on Memorial Drive. While there we ran into an Atlanta Police officer and talked to him for a little.

So we went in and order. I was actually surprised that we had time to sit and eat because there were just so many calls coming in. After we finished eating we got back on the road and started running tags again. We pulled over this one car because he did not have his lights on. While in the midst of pulling him over another call came through. Instead officer Edelkind gave him a warning.

The next call we we went on was a sound of an alarm. Once arriving to the building, a doctor’s office, their security had taken care of the situation already. After leaving the premise we pulled up in a gas station, where the officer pulled over a suspicious looking lady who was just hanging out in the station. Officer Edelkind got out, patted her down and emptied her pockets. He got back in the car and ran her I. D. Nothing came up on her so he told her to stop loitering and let her go As soon as he let her go another call came through.The call was about a Popeyes security guard who got into an altercation with an off the cloc employee.

When we arrived there was the security guard sitting there sweating and panting, all out of breathe. He had a decent size gash above his right eyebrow, a swollen cheekbone, and blood all in his mouth. The employee who he got into the altercation with had left the restaurant. His girlfriend, who happened to work there, was able to call him up, calm him down, and got him to come back to talk to the detectives and police officers.Long behold, after getting statements from a number of witnesses and listening to both sides of the story it all was still making no sense. So the detectives finally arrived and looked at the survalance. Telling from the tapes the security guard was in the wrong and the employee was just defending himself.

So they rushed the security guard off to the hospital beause they said he had systoms of a possible concussion. After that call we headed back to the precinct, that was the last call of the shift. After doing the ride along my whole perception chaned about the police.They are really nice and easygoing people until someone decides that they want to be a smart alick. They like to joke around a lot and they are very close with one another.

Now I actually thnk I want to become an officer.References Chicago Police Department. (n.

d. ). Retrieved March1, 2010 from https://portal. chicagopolice. org/portal/page/portal/ClearPath/About%20CPD/Recruitment/RecruitmentEmployment LAPD. (n.

d. ). Retrieved March1, 2010 from http://www. joinlapd. com/qualifications. html Walker, S, Katz, C.

(2008). The police in america. (6th ed. ).

Retrieved March 1, 2010



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